Cherwell Labour reject Liberal Democrat offer to work together running Council


Leader of the Labour group, Sean Woodcock

Differences of opinion on house building and town centre investment were red lines for Labour

The Labour Group at Cherwell District Council has rejected an approach from the Liberal Democrats to work together running the Council.

Following the local elections a couple of weeks ago no one party can control the Council, but the Liberal Democrats have the most councillors with 17 seats and Labour are the second largest group with 13.

A statement by Cherwell Labour cites differences of opinion on the amount of house building needed in the district and further investment in Banbury town centre.

The idea floated is noted as an agreement between Labour and the Liberal Democrats alone, indicating the Liberals would not be pursuing their previous working arrangement with Green and independent councillors under the Progressive Oxfordshire banner.

The statement from Cherwell Labour said: “The week before last we were approached by the Liberal Democrats about how we might work together to run Cherwell District Council.

“The Liberal Democrat leadership floated the possibility of a deal between them and Labour only, without the involvement of other parties or independent councillors.

“However, during those discussions we made it clear that we could not support their agenda on important issues like the Local Plan. They also do not share Labour’s priorities of getting more homes built to tackle local need and for continued investment in Banbury town centre.

“These are things that we as a Labour Party campaigned on and made priorities in the recent local elections and which they have been decidedly ambivalent on.

“As such, we do not feel a formal deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats on Cherwell District Council is possible.

“We will continue to promote these priorities as the second largest party and as the official opposition, a role which carries huge importance with the council having no one party in overall control.”

The leader of the Liberal Democrats at Cherwell told Banbury FM they have reached out to other parties on the Council for the benefit of residents.

David Hingley said: “Since the election results the Lib Dems have sought to engage constructively with other parties to discuss Cherwell’s future. As the largest party, we believe that gives us the mandate to form an administration, but with no one party having a majority we want to find ways to work together for the benefit of residents.

“Looking forwards, we remain open to discussions and are determined to work hard to help Banbury thrive, as well as the whole of Cherwell district.”

Cherwell District Council’s annual meeting will take place this Wednesday evening.   It is this meeting when a Leader of the Council will be appointed, who will then build a Cabinet around them to run Council matters.   Without a majority, or a working agreement between parties, a minority administration will be limited in what it can achieve.

The Conservatives have been running the Council with a minority administration since they lost overall control in May 2023.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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